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a Lightworks blog

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scroll right to the bottom of the page
to find the post you've clicked on!

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My favourite commission
and some thoughts on
bespoke work in general :)

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a country distraction ~
creating a home for

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To our winged ancestors
from a timeless, summery
Somerset garden.

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A few images
from the state of
mind called Bali

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Another wintery
guest post by
Cathy van Hoppe

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A Christmas dream painting
and a Sweet Chestnut Path
dream timelapse

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the inauguration
of Altair air Abhainn ~
Alter by the water

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Fu Hsi and Nu Gua
Ancient founders of the
I Ching in cast glass

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focus on
the floor of
my studio

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a mandala
to re-set our relationship
with time and our one
precious life

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A creative relationship
with time

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In celebration
of all things light,
bright and summery

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The River Ribble
is the location for a video
of the Rodriguez song

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Two video sketches
from our mistical valley

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The snowy stanes
A little video shot on a
beautiful solstice morning

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An Imbolc offering
to the beloved Celtic
Triple Goddess

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High with me
A dream drawing
timelapse inaugurates
this blog reborn :)

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An Eskdalemuir angel
timelapsed for
the feast of lights

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The long read
An article on dreaming wisdom,
the I Ching and African Dream
Root, first published in Caduceus

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The ancient origins
of the I Ching ~ a
little video, part of my
ongoing work with it.

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ancestral wisdom
A timelapse of following
dream guidance with art

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About the exhibition
Some multimedia musings on the
Shambhala at Shambellie experience.

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A new Animus exhibition
A little about Shambala
and the making of a
cast glass piece.

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If I have a guiding principle
in life, it's death. Music video for
Emma Gillespie's beautiful song.

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A painting timelapse
of a six-foot long piece
for Rennaldburn's
tiniest room

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Illuminating the Book of Love
A music video for the
song by Oisin HendriX

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Cathy Van Hoppe
tells a Winter tale

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first in a series
of dream-drawing timelapses
I'll be uploading now and then.

    My favourite commission

    When a writer living in Castell Emlyn, home to this Isle of Albion's last known living dragon, asked for an illuminated dragon's eye in a cave to help inspire her creative flow, my inner response ~ and, more or less, my outer one ~ was "Wow! Could you have given me a more perfect commission?!"

    Writer Di with her just-cooked dragon's eye

    It reminded me how much I love creating artwork for others, which I go into more detail about here.

    It also felt like a good introduction to my new bespoke page on returntotheway.

    Here's a little video showing the how the colours shift around in the dragon's eye as the viewer moves in relation to it, due to the multi-plane technique used:

    ...and here's the eye in situ on Di's writing desk.

    May it provide bountiful creative inspiration :)

    country distractions no. 1: the darling starlings

    We all have distractions to deal with in life, but living in deep countryside some of those diversions have a different quality to them. Like last week’s one, in which a posse of electrical engineers descended on Rennaldburn to replace some ancient wiring & rotten telegraph poles.

    Which was all good, apart from the fact that the rotten telegraph pole featured the best three-storey starling condominium in the valley. I always loved seeing the darling starlings dive in and out with wisps of grass and fledgeling tidbits, so it was a bit heartbreaking to see them perching forlornly on the telegraph wire wondering where their home had gone.

    There was only one thing to do: re-erect the rotten pole. This proved to be quite a mission, and after it was done I realised the next task at hand was to create some heavy-duty cat protection around it to make sure Tashi didn’t think I’d just created him a handy starling snack-bar.

    Finally it was done. The only question was, would the starlings accept their new home being a few feet further West and about half as high as it had been?

    It didn’t take them long to settle back in again…even though they were accompanied this time by a throng of smaller birds who love hanging out on the bizarre construction beneath the nest.

    Maybe tomorrow I’ll do some artwork…

    I'll fly away

    This Samhain new moon, as our ancestors are nearer the forefront of our awareness, here's a small tale about a gravestone I made my Great Aunt Ecila this Summer.

    She died forty years ago, but ~ having matter-of-factly donated her body to science ~ never had a funeral or grave...and the time felt right for my mother and myself to redress the balance. (Since I carved a stone in memory of my father a couple of years ago, I'm quite the expert now ;)

    I decided to try a multimedia offering this time, with a glass rosy cross inset into the sandstone, along with a little metal Scotty dog broach...and we made the pilgrimage down to North Curry, Somerset to sneak it into the family plot.

    There we stayed with a family friend who had one of those wild, rambling and chaotically glorious gardens that have a timeless quality to them ~ you could imagine it being the same in a medieval or victorian age.

    (The same could be said for many interior views, such as this nook, ode to glass and dragons :)

    I spent much of my time filming the abundance of winged creatures who made their home there and on the local waterways...

    These sun-infused interactions became this little video, made as an offering to Aunt Ecila ~ and all our relations who are now more winged than earthbound.



    "Life, religion and art all converge in Bali. They have no word
    in their language for 'artist' or 'art.' Everyone is an artist."
    ~ Anais Nin

    This is how Bali struck me when I went there aged twenty one: visiting a land where spirituality and creativity live at the heart of life had a formative and transformative effect on me. (That journey was one in which I ended up shipwrecked on a small island in the Indian Ocean…but that’s another story :)
    This time round, I was going for a month with my betrothed, in the faith that he would feel this unique, vibrant spirit too.
    “Baliiiiiii!” is how someone in security at gargantuan Jakarta airport pronounced it; playfully, but with the feel of a mythical, sacred place. And we were enchanted from the very first morning, when a stroll along a Kuta beach, minutes from the airport, revealed a multitude of wildlife…including a very handsome pair of snakes we filmed from up close, only discovering later that they were sea snakes with a lethal venom.

    We’ve arrived back inspired to move forward with our various works, so I won’t turn this into too epic a post…but just share a few snapshots into Bali life as we experienced it:

    jungle temples...

    sacred monkeys...

    horse-washing at dawn...

    loving daily offerings...

    (this one by Ketut Sumiarti, our homestay hostess. Here's the link if you ever want to stay with a lovely family high in Bali's mountains :)

    shrines by every doorway...

    a cats-only island...

    painting with Mada, Ketut, Wili & Putu...

    ...and misty mountains beneath us as we flew North again.

    Sometimes, the inner truth of a journey unfolds after returning home once more...and, with dreams of flying turtles and extravagantly coloured butterflies, Bali is still working its magic on us as we walk by Rennaldburn's clear waters and frosted swathes of snowdrops. Now is time to get creating again :)

    Mada swinging on a vine at sunset

    Harsh Winters, Retreats and the Exploration of Silence ~ by Cathy van Hoppe

    It's been a long time since I've had a guest post on returntotheway...nearly two years ago, when Cathy van Hoppe shared sketches for a winter's tale.

    Here's a recent work coming into being; midnight magic, kinship and starlight born from silence and winter stillness.

    It's been a long time since my last blog post. And, for those kind souls who read this blog regularly I am truly apologetic for vanishing without explanation.

    Life has its seasons I guess and sometimes a very harsh Winter comes our way. It forces a kind of hibernation, a withdrawal from our normal lives. It can be a very testing time - providing little in the way of nourishment and using up all your reserves. Survival depends on something beyond our control and a kind of surrender begins to develop.

    I feel that it's possible that good things can come from that which at first glance might appear bad. Watching the people around me, there are those that have emerged from tough times with a new depth, their eyes shining and their hearts warm and open. They are so inspiring.
    During this time I have taken the opportunity to participate in some retreats and explore the Silence of being and in a way I am grateful for the gifts cloaked by misfortune. There are strange paradoxes that occur within Silence that can transform great pain into great joy, it isn't easy at all and I feel ill-equipped to explain it any further. There are small sentences that come out of me that feel right and then there are large monologues that come out of me that miss the mark entirely - So amongst most people I know I have been quite quiet of late.

    Silence, for me, has become more than just the mere absence of sound - it is a sort of felt sense of something quite serene and joyful, beautiful and uncomplicated that is always under the everythingness that we see, feel and experience.

    Only yesterday I came across some powerful words from Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi - One line from his poem, an Ocean without shore...

    I courted a Secret which existence did not alter; for it was asked of me:
    ' Has thought enchanted you?'

    Artwork has been happening but I guess it is only recently that I have felt up to sharing. This one is one of my favourites so far. It is a little picture that emerged after a retreat early this year. When I look at it I can feel a gentle Silence, I hope that others will sense it too... It's not completely finished yet but I'm nearly there...
    The initial sketch came on a bright sunny day. It always amuses me how often stars appear in my work.

    And Silence swam as starlight between the trees


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    © shenpen chökyi 2013